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Old 08-29-2011, 05:33 PM   #1
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Old Water Heaters - replace or wait to fail?


I have 3 old water heaters in a chain (water into #1, which feeds #2, which feeds #3, which feeds the house) in my vacation townhome. Trying to decide if I should swap them out for one new 75 gal tank, or just wait for 1 or 2 to fail before incurring the expense. Seems to me that if one or two fail, I can just bypass them in the chain and keep on showering. Make sense?

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Old 08-29-2011, 06:54 PM   #2
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Old Water Heaters - replace or wait to fail?


How old are they, when was the last time you flushed them out, what kind of water supply do you have (municipal or well)?

My definition of failure includes leaks, and as you stated this is a vacation home, therefore I'd be pretty concerned if they were 15+ years old.

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Old 08-29-2011, 09:52 PM   #3
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How old are they, when was the last time you flushed them out, what kind of water supply do you have (municipal or well)?

My definition of failure includes leaks, and as you stated this is a vacation home, therefore I'd be pretty concerned if they were 15+ years old.
Thanks for responding, VIPlumber.

There are 3 units. Two are original (30+ years). One is not original but definitely over 15 yrs old. Never flushed to my knowledge (owned by wife's family). Municipal water supply.

They are located in a "pit" with a sump pump under the home. The place gets used 6-10 weeks a year.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:30 PM   #4
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Old Water Heaters - replace or wait to fail?


Municipal water is good, probably doesn't need flushing as often as one on a well, but they should be flushed every 12 months or so. Sometimes the municipality flushes their water system and guess where it ends up?

They're in a sump pit? Good in case of a leak but exactly what are they sitting on? If it's right at the bottom of the pit, or on concrete blocks, then you'll probably be looking at rust/corrosion through the bottom. Best if they're elevated above the highest fill point of the sump pit and sitting on on a plywood sheet with perhaps concrete blocks underneath.

Two at ~30 years? Nice, they don't make them like they used to, do they?
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:17 PM   #5
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Old Water Heaters - replace or wait to fail?


What brand are they?

We've pulled out old water heaters at 50 years.

If they've made it 30 you may get up to another 20 out of them.

Leave them until they leak.

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Old 08-29-2011, 11:31 PM   #6
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OK..I have to ask. Do all of them heat water or are some of them storage tanks? I like the idea of a tempering tank. If the anodes are refreshed when needed the tanks can last a very long time.
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:37 PM   #7
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Old Water Heaters - replace or wait to fail?


Brand is American. I assume all 3 heat the water...two of the 3 are gas fired and both are connected to the gas line. The third is electric. All 3 are sitting on the floor of the sump pit...2 on concrete and one on dirt. I'm quite sure they have never been flushed, nor have the anodes ever been replaced (or even checked). Sounds to me like they lasted this long because they were well made, in spite of the neglect. This townhome is in S. Lake Tahoe, CA and is not inhabited much during the winter. If one of them leaks, we won't likely know for some time, which will probably cause damage to the other 2 and perhaps exacerbate the problem. I think I'm inclined to replace the three with one new 75 gal gas fired tank. Cost is approx. $1000, but at least I don't have an emergency situation to deal with 200 miles from home, which would cost a lot more. Still, I hate to replace what could hold out for another 20 years with a new unit that probably won't last 15 years!

Thanks to all for input.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:23 PM   #8
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Old Water Heaters - replace or wait to fail?


The size of the water heater is usually determined by how many fixtures it has to service. Is the Townhome large that it could require 3 water heaters? I curently have an electric water heater in my home and when it's life is over I intend to install a heat pump water heater. Is this something you could use?
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:33 PM   #9
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The size of the water heater is usually determined by how many fixtures it has to service. Is the Townhome large that it could require 3 water heaters? I curently have an electric water heater in my home and when it's life is over I intend to install a heat pump water heater. Is this something you could use?
I don't know why there are 3 water heaters. The townhome is not large, but there are 3 bathrooms, and two of them have Jacuzzi tubs, which may explain it. We never use the tubs, so I can't see why we would need more than 1 water heater. Just looked at the heat pump water heater...looks like we don't meet the criteria for temperature range and space. Thanks.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:37 PM   #10
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My home is 2800 sq ft. and I currently use an 80 gallon electric water heater. It's way more than ust my wife and I need, but it was sized for the amount of fixtures, 3 baths, kitchen, laundry.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:50 PM   #11
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Have you thought about using the new tankless water heaters? One should be able to handle your need and your not heating and storing hot water when your not there.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:20 PM   #12
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Tankless gas are OK..tankless electric, in my opinion should NOT be used in any residential application.
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:30 PM   #13
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Tankless gas are OK..tankless electric, in my opinion should NOT be used in any residential application.
Can you elaborate a bit on this? I'm looking at getting an electric tankless for my 4 bedroom home.

thanks.
m
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:46 PM   #14
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Old Water Heaters - replace or wait to fail?


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Can you elaborate a bit on this? I'm looking at getting an electric tankless for my 4 bedroom home.

thanks.
m

You need a dedicated 200A service to run one that will make enough hot water for a residential house. Enough said I think.
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Old 09-03-2011, 03:26 PM   #15
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You need a dedicated 200A service to run one that will make enough hot water for a residential house. Enough said I think.
It would be enough said if I knew what you were talking about.


I have 240 run to the existing electric water heater tank. No clue on the amps amount from the breakers.

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